Will Cabinet Ministers and Mentri-Mentri Besar be arrested if there are corruption reports lodged against them, just as in the case of the Negri Sembilan Assemblyman Kamarudin Mohd Din in connection with a RM3,000 bribery allegation?
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Thursday): The press has reported the arrest of a State Assemblyman in Negri Sembilan for corruption allegations. Is this the beginning of the crackdown on the “big fish” without which no amount of talk about a war against corruption to establish a new political culture of zero tolerance for corruption would have any credibility?
According to media reports, the two-term Palong Assemblyman in Negri Sembilan, Datuk Kamarudin Mohd Din, 50, was arrested by Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) officers for allegedly receiving RM3,000 in bribes from a contractor and was taken to the State ACA head office in Seremban for interrogation by investigating officers. Kamarudin has been released on RM10,000 bail in one surety, pending decision by the higher authorities whether Kamarudin is to be charged in court for corruption.
Regardless of whether Kamarudin is charged in court and the outcome of such a prosecution, Kamarudin does not qualify to be a “big fish” as the allegation against him is for receipt of a RM3,000 bribe. The “big fishes” of corruption do not dabble with thousands of ringgit, but millions and tens of millions of ringgit in financial scandals running into billions or even tens of billions of ringgit!
What is unusual about the Kamarudin case is his arrest for ACA investigation and not after a decision has been taken by the Attorney-General’s Chambers for prosecution.
Is this going to be a new ACA practice where the subject of corruption reports officially lodged would be arrested for investigation – for if this had been the practice in the past, Cabinet Ministers like Rafidah Aziz, Samy Vellu, Khalil Yaakob and Nazri Abdul Aziz, former Ministers like Ling Liong Sik and Daim Zainuddin, and current Mentri-Mentri Besar like Adnan Yaakob (Pahang) and Khir Toyo (Selangor) would have been arrested by the ACA because of corruption reports lodged against them.
Would they now be arrested for any re-opening of ACA investigations against them?
If it is the new practice of the ACA to initiate arrests against those who are the subject of corruption reports, the 16 Members of Parliament who are currently being investigated for excessive parliamentary claims would have been arrested.
The ACA should explain when it has decided to initiate this new practice and whether Cabinet Ministers and Mentri-Mentri Besar would be arrested if there are corruption reports lodged against them, just as in the case of the Negri Sembilan Assemblyman Kamarudin Mohd Din in connection with a RM3,000 bribery allegation?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman